Several Tabernacle School District parents have recently reached out to Superintendent George Rafferty and expressed their desire to invigorate the Tabernacle Education Foundation, and the board of education welcomes more members of the community to do the same.
“It’s a foundation that the community can donate funds to that can be used by this foundation to supplement educational programs, support teacher activities in the classroom and a host of others things that sometimes don’t always fall in the realm of a typical school budget,” Rafferty said.
Tabernacle Board of Education President Michael Lee also recently spoke about the stagnancy of the foundation at a PTA meeting.
“For the public’s information, our Tabernacle Education Foundation had functioned very well in the past,” Lee said. “It’s only in the last five years or so that it kind of reached a point of inactivity.”
Lee said neighboring townships have been very successful with the work their education foundations have done and the amounts of money they have been able to generate.
“Just to give you a perspective of some of the good work the surrounding school districts are doing with their educational foundations…the numbers of a quarter of a million dollars, half a million dollars, three quarters of a million dollars, and funds that flow back into the schools.”
Rafferty said the board is hoping to get even more support from the community, and he believes there’s still about $5,000 in the foundation’s account.
“It has been inactive for quite some time,” Rafferty said. “In order to get that activated again, we would have to assign this account to a community member who would take a leadership role in managing the funds and also a committee, and also accepting donations and then the foundation can begin to develop into a viable source of funding to help enhance education.”
According to Rafferty, a community member has to operate the foundation, hence the need for the public’s support.
“It can’t be the superintendent or the administration or the board of education even, “Rafferty said. “It has to be a separate group or entity from the community that has interest in operating this education fund.”
Board member John Bulina said the education foundation also provides the district with a legal mechanism that allows donated funds to flow through to the district where those who donate can also receive tax write-offs.
“If it goes through the education fund, the education fund that accepts it then can give you a letter to thank you for the donation, and you then have that you can claim as a legitimate donation and then it can be passed on to the school district for whatever purpose the fund decides to pass it on for,” Bulina said. “It’s a very important process because it gives us a mechanism that doesn’t exist without the fund existing.”
In addition to direct donations, Lee said those who join the foundation could also raise funds from community activities such as Dine Out for Education, events at local eateries, teacher–student lip-sync contests, summer pool parties and barbeques, golf outings and more.
He believes such activities would serve a dual purpose of raising funds and also strengthening the community’s ties to students.
“Just opportunities for the community, the larger community, our educational community to be involved for the benefit of our students,” Lee said.
Rafferty said the board wants the word out for any interested members of the community.
“We want to get the word out that if there are interested community members that would like to get involved and perhaps take a leadership role in the education foundation,” Rafferty said.
Those interested in the Tabernacle Education Foundation can reach out to the superintendent’s office at (609) 268–0153 Ext: 1011